Earlier this month, Brad and I went to Los Angeles for the official U.S. unveiling of the Ford Fiesta at the LA Auto Show. Ford flew a bunch of us agents for a two-day event, which included a special concert and awards ceremony at the Hollywood Palladium.
Brad and I won Best Adventure Video for Gator Wrastlin' mission!
While at the Palladium, we happened to bump into a social media acquaintance, Jeff Turner, who shot this video:
I wrote about the LA Auto Show experience over at Miami New Times, so I'm going to take a more personal tack here. But suffice it to say, Ford's campaign was absolutely brilliant. I'm not a marketing expert and I can't predict if it's going to sell cars, but the campaign generated millions of impressions in social media networks.
And besides, it was just plain fun. I was amazed at the amount of creativity and talent shared among all the agents in the project.
Brad and I returned the car to a local Ford dealer in South Dade a day before we went to LA. It didn't dawn on me how much I would miss the car until I got back to Miami.
I was never really into cars, but now I have much more of an appreciation for the art of motor vehicles and driving. My own car, a '98 Toyota Corolla, feels like a golf cart compared to the Fiesta. There's something about the power of the engine, the steering and the manual transmission that make a whole world of difference when driving. I keep reaching for the stick shift and now that it's not there, I feel like I'm in limbo!
Driving a great car in manual transmission is like taking the lead in a tango. I felt like the car was my partner and I was guiding her every move; she responded to me beautifully. The car felt like an extension of me. It was powerful. With my Toyota, the driving experience is very passive and blah. I guess I did become very passionate about driving after all!
(Of course, I'm talking about the Ford Fiesta here, but I'm sure this is true of any quality car out there. Being a girly girl, I seriously used to think all driving experiences were the same. So not true!)
I really enjoyed being part of this project and bringing some great content here to Sex and the Beach. I had the chance to do some hyper-local storytelling that I probably would've never done: we captured Memorial Day, featuring Jimbo's and interviewing a veteran on Ocean Drive; we shot a parody of Scarface, including locations El Exquisito Restaurant, Maximo Gomez Domino Park and Elian Gonzalez's house; we geocached in South Miami, Coral Gables and Pinecrest, including the historic cemetery on Erwin Road; we helped build a house in Liberty City with Habitat for Humanity; we checked out the local graffiti scene with artist Atomic; we towed the car on a bike down Flagler street; and, finally, of course, we wrestled an alligator in Orlando.
I also got to know Brad better and work with him as part of a creative team. The Ford Fiesta may be out of our lives now, but I doubt this is the last time we're going to collaborate on some cool projects together.
The Fiesta project was also personally rewarding for me since I used to suffer from agoraphobia and had a fear of driving. It's amazing to me that I was able to conquer that condition and end up driving a car -- a stick shift no less -- all over local expressways! I even drove most of the way to Orlando and back when we went on our Gatorland mission.
When I was caught up in the agoraphobia, I never in a million years would've dreamed about driving so much and enjoying it so. But while I had the Fiesta, I would drive the car every day, even if I didn't have to go anywhere. It was a thrill to go down beautiful Old Cutler Road just for the heck of it.
I hope that I can be an example to others who are suffering from panic attacks. If I could get over it, so can you. For me, there was quite a bit of serendipity involving the Ford Fiesta project; it was no mere coincidence. Driving like this was the culmination and proof positive that you can turn your life around from such a crippling condition.
Thank you Brad and Ford -- it was a great ride!